Updated on February 6, 2024
7 min read

What is Residential Rehab?

Key Takeaways

What is Residential Rehab?

Residential rehab offers onsite, around-the-clock addiction treatment. Those participating in a residential treatment program live at the treatment facility and have access to medical care and support 24 hours a day. 

Residential treatment programs take 30, 60, or 90 days, sometimes longer. These plans offer consistency and continuity. 

Many are comprehensive and provide access to: 

  • Pharmaceutical medications
  • Individual therapy and counseling
  • Aftercare and relapse prevention
  • Family therapy and support
  • Post-treatment guidance and support

What’s the Difference Between Inpatient and Residential Treatment?

In inpatient care, you may be hospitalized early in treatment and live at the residential treatment facility with 24-hour care and medical attention. This is especially relevant in cases where addiction situations are medical emergencies.

Residential care, while offering 24-hour care, tends to be more therapy-focused and less hospital-like. It’s best for people who are ready to seek treatment and might not have progressed to extreme physical health problems. 

When deciding whether an inpatient or residential program is right for you, consider:

  • Insurance, payment considerations, and options
  • Comorbidities or co-occurring disorders
  • Desire to participate in treatment
  • Physical health

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What is Residential Rehab?
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How Much Does Residential Rehab Cost?

The average cost for residential addiction treatment is around $42,500, with a range spanning from $5,000 to $80,000. Residential addiction treatment can have varying costs depending on the level of luxury services provided. 

The most expensive treatment options are upscale, luxury programs in a spa-like environment. Residential inpatient treatment costs significantly more than outpatient programs because it includes:

  • Therapy
  • Food
  • Room
  • Board
  • Miscellaneous expenses, such as laundry and transportation

What Is the Insurance Coverage for Rehab?

Insurance coverage for rehab differs, and not all health insurance plans fully cover residential or inpatient treatment. This often leaves outpatient treatment as the only option for some. 

Legally, insurance providers must cover addiction treatment in the same way they would any other illness. Health insurance must provide comparable support if a doctor prescribes medically necessary treatment. However, insurance companies might only cover part of the cost of rehab. 

Coverage depends on many factors, including:

  • Your insurance policy
  • The treatment center you choose
  • Whether the treatment center accepts your insurance
  • How long you need treatment
  • Amenities
  • Location
  • Treatment approach
  • Length of program

What are Other Financial Options for Rehab?

Several options can help cover the cost of residential rehab, including:

  • Insurance coverage: Many insurance plans cover at least part of addiction treatment costs
  • Payment plans: Treatment centers often provide payment plans to spread the cost over a more extended period
  • Grants or scholarships: Some organizations offer grants or scholarships to cover addiction treatment costs
  • Crowdfunding: Virtual fundraising platforms like GoFundMe can help raise money for treatment costs.
  • Loans: You can get a personal loan or borrow from friends or family to fund your treatment

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What to Expect During Residential Rehab

The goal of residential rehab is to provide 24-hour support to help you recover from substance addiction, including:

  • Medically supported detox and management of withdrawal when appropriate
  • Medically supported maintenance care when appropriate
  • One-on-one therapy for substance use disorder and any co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Family counseling
  • Guidance and support to help you gain the skills necessary to thrive in life outside of substance abuse treatment
  • Follow-up care and relapse prevention

What Therapeutic Approaches Does Residential Rehab Use?

Residential rehab programs utilize various therapeutic approaches to address addiction and promote recovery. Some common approaches include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This drug addiction treatment approach focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts and behaviors relating to substance abuse
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): DBT combines CBT techniques with mindfulness practices to help individuals learn coping skills for managing strong emotions
  • Motivational interviewing (MI): This approach focuses on helping you find and maintain motivation to change addictive behaviors
  • Trauma-informed therapy: Trauma-informed therapy addresses underlying issues that may contribute to substance abuse

How Long Do Residential Rehab Programs Take?

Typically, these programs last 30, 60, or 90 days. The length of inpatient and residential rehab programs can vary significantly, encompassing short-term and long-term options. 

However, long-term programs that extend for 6 months or even longer for more comprehensive and sustained recovery are also available.

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What are the Different Residential Treatment Programs? 

There are different types of residential treatment programs, including:

Long-Term Residential Treatment

Long-term residential treatments are based on the therapeutic community (TC) treatment model, aiming to develop personal accountability and responsibility and learn to live a productive life. They provide addiction treatment 24 hours a day, usually in a non-hospital setting.

The TC treatment model means that everyone involved, including other residents and staff, are all components of treatment. These programs can last 6 to 12 months and focus on “re-socialization.”

Long-term residential treatment is structured. It involves examining damaging beliefs and learning to adopt new ways of interacting with people. You have access to employment training and other support services.

Short-Term Residential Treatment

Short-term residential treatment offers intensive addiction care around the clock but for a shorter period compared to long-term programs. Typically, these programs range from a few days to about a month, most lasting between 3 and 6 weeks. 

Following this intensive phase, you often transition to outpatient programs or self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Predominantly utilizing a modified 12-step approach, these programs initially address only alcohol addiction but have since broadened to cover other substance addictions.

What Happens After Residential Rehab?

After completing a residential rehab program, aftercare and ongoing support are crucial to maintaining sobriety. This can include follow-up therapy, alumni programs, and sober living arrangements.

These resources provide continued guidance and support as you transition back into your daily life. Additional forms of aftercare include:

  • Sober coaches
  • Support groups
  • Relapse prevention techniques
  • Counseling for co-occurring disorders
  • Medication management

How Do Residential and Outpatient Rehabs Compare?

Both residential inpatient rehab and outpatient care provide effective addiction treatment. They also have pros and cons.

The right program depends on specific personal circumstances. When choosing between residential and outpatient rehab, consider the following:

1. Flexibility

Residential or inpatient treatment removes you from your everyday life. You commit to significant time away from family, friends, school, and work obligations.

Outpatient treatment programs, on the other hand, offer greater flexibility. You undergo treatment during the day for several days a week. Then, you go home in the evening.

2. Cost

Outpatient programs cost less than residential programs. They don’t require room and board, which results in a lower price.

3. Home Life

Outpatient treatment programs are most effective for those with a stable, substance-free home environment. Participants must return to a safe, temptation-free setting after each treatment session. 

If your home environment lacks stability or exposes you to substances, residential treatment may be a more suitable option to support your recovery journey.

4. Length of Addiction

Residential programs work better for people who’ve struggled with long-term addiction. This is because these programs help you learn a new way of living.

Undoing unhealthy patterns and habits takes longer if you’ve dealt with addiction for a long time. The longer the treatment program, the more opportunity you have to relearn damaging behavior.

5. Co-Occurring Disorders

For some, residential treatment is better because it provides full-time, comprehensive care for addiction and mental health disorders. If you suffer from a mental health disorder and addiction, it can be more effective to immerse yourself in this treatment type. 


Residential rehab programs offer a structured, supportive environment to focus solely on recovery. While they may be more expensive and time-consuming than outpatient programs, residential rehab provides comprehensive care to help with long-term addiction or co-occurring disorders.

Aftercare and ongoing support are crucial for maintaining sobriety after completing a residential program. Various financial options, such as insurance coverage and payment plans, are available to help cover the cost of rehab.

Ultimately, the right type of treatment depends on your needs and circumstances. Carefully consider all factors when deciding between residential and outpatient rehab to choose the best path toward recovery.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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